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Moscow Urges Paris To Decide Soon Over Delivery Of Warships

Russian sailors gather in front of the Mistral-class helicopter carrier "Vladivostok" at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire on December 17.

Moscow has called on Paris to decide by the end of the year whether it will deliver two Mistral-class warships.

Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov told Interfax on December 20 that "It doesn't matter if the calendar shows December 31, 2014, or January 1, 2015, but we are waiting for France's decision."

He also said Russia will gladly take back the money it paid for the warships, whose handover has been delayed by concerns over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis.

The agreement for the helicopter carriers worth 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion) was signed before Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support of the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Paris has so far delayed delivery of the first warship, which was set for fall of 2014, "until further notice."

Based on reporting by Interfax